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UKEF and high street banks to work together to support exporters

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the Government-run export credit agency, is set to help many more businesses, both exporters and supply chain SMEs, access financial support through their banks.

The secretary of state for the Department for International Trade, Liam Fox, has today (12 July) announced that UKEF will partner with five of the UK’s biggest banks to deliver government-backed financial support to exporters more quickly and efficiently.

Partnering with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS/NatWest and Santander, UKEF will soon be able to extend its support to supply chain companies of UK exporters, significantly increasing the number of businesses able to access UKEF-backed trade finance.

As a result, smaller companies that support big UK exporters will be able to secure government-backed financing to deliver products and services and benefit from their clients’ international business.

Dr Fox said: “As an international economic department, this new partnership shows the Department for International Trade’s commitment to help small businesses seize the global demand for British exports.

"Providing easily accessible finance, backed by UKEF’s guarantee, will lift a common barrier to exporting. Providing that finance to suppliers as well as exporters means spreading the benefits of global trade, supporting more jobs and growth for companies large and small.”

Jeff Longhurst, head of commercial at UK Export Finance, added: “The industry is committed to making it easier for UK exporters to access finance and UK Finance has worked closely with lenders and UKEF to make this process simpler.

"With nearly 70% of international SMEs planning to grow in the next 12 months, today’s announcement is a boost for both SMEs and the wider economy, helping support businesses across the country.”

Through this new model, banks will be able to provide export-related trade finance, for example working capital loans and bonds required by overseas buyers, to support their SME customers directly, and with UKEF’s guarantee in place should it be needed.

At the same time, UKEF will make trade finance support directly available to direct suppliers supporting UK exporters, in a major enhancement to its existing offer. This will allow thousands of companies in manufacturers’ and service providers’ supply chains to access contract bonds and working capital loans with the government’s guarantee.

All of this is being delivered to banks through a new and secure digital platform to help ensure the quickest response times and most efficient customer experience.

Ian Tandy, head of global trade and receivables finance at HSBC, added: “HSBC supports many of the UK’s SMEs so we welcome any initiatives designed to help our customers. We look forward to working closely with UKEF and continuing to support the UK’s hard working, creative and inspiring SMEs.”

Since UKEF’s trade finance products were launched in 2011, nearly 300 companies have benefited from nearly £500m in support for several billion pounds worth of overseas contracts. This development follows a partnership agreement between the Department for International Trade and the five banks signed in July 2016.